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Why Do Gate Agents Need To Assign Seats?  
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 13469 times:

I've noticed that one of the first things gate agents do upon their arrival at the podium is print out a handful of boarding passes, then announce "Will the passengers Jack, Jill, Johnny, and Jane please come to the podium for your seat assignment?"

Why is this necessary? I assumed that all pax either selected their seats online or an agent did it for them at check-in, but this does not always seem to be the case. I know that there are usually pax on standby, but I thought those seats usually were assigned toward the end of boarding.

One time, I was flying BOS-MIA-SJO on AA with my sister and grandparents, but upon arrival at BOS we discovered our BOS-MIA flight was cancelled due to a broken 757. After waiting in the long line to be rebooked, the agent asked us "May I split you up?" We said yes, and traveled to SJO separately in two pairs. My grandfather and I flew BOS-DFW-SJO, while my sister and grandmother flew BOS-MIA-SJO. After the agent checked our bags and gave us our boarding passes, she said, "It's too early to give you seat assignments for your flight to DFW, you'll need to see the gate agent for your seats." (The flight was AA 475, on a 737 if that matters.) But somehow she was able to assign our seats on the DFW-SJO flight as well as both flights for my sister and grandmother, who were traveling much later in the day than we were. I tried a kiosk as well and it also said "see agent for seat assignment."

So why was this the case? Any information would be great!  

48 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17172 posts, RR: 66
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 13465 times:

I'll speculate here.

I think it is because of seating priorities and last minute changes. I don't think the booking systems are clever enough to seat everyone automatically in the face of said things.

Say that some families with infants are traveling on the flight but have not checked in yet. The airline way want to keep the bulkhead seats for those, but if they then don't show the seats become available. Same with high status holders. I once arrived at LHR T3 30 minutes before take-off for a transatlantic flight (and wasn't that a fun run to the gate). The check-in agents had kept my seat open, probably because I had the highest status. However if I hadn't shown this would have led to a cascade effect as someone else would have gotten my upgrade, and then an economy seat would have been available for someone on standby. Add in the aforementioned bulkheads, people traveling together, seating preference, and you can see why the gate agents might prefer to do some assignments last minute.

Again, just speculation.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineYYZatcboy From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 1091 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 13442 times:
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CUSTOMER SERVICE & SUPPORT

They are clearing standby passengers who get through security with a boarding pass but no seat assignment. It's also upgrades.


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User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1899 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 13398 times:

They almost always overbook flights because not all ticket holders show up. So people who booked after all seats were assigned and people from missed flights don't have available seats till the last minute.


Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9810 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 13381 times:

There are multiple reasons. First, you hear a lot of standby passengers who are non-revs get seat assignments at the gate. Sometimes it is 20 minutes prior to departure, but sometimes earlier when the loads are light.

Secondly, airlines overbook. About 6 passengers is normal on a domestic flight. You might be confirmed on the flight, but not get a seat assignment since the seats have not been released from misconnects and no shows.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 13357 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
I'll speculate here.

I think it is because of seating priorities and last minute changes. I don't think the booking systems are clever enough to seat everyone automatically in the face of said things.

You may be correct there.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
Say that some families with infants are traveling on the flight but have not checked in yet. The airline way want to keep the bulkhead seats for those, but if they then don't show the seats become available. Same with high status holders.

Hmm... Interesting to know.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
I once arrived at LHR T3 30 minutes before take-off for a transatlantic flight (and wasn't that a fun run to the gate).

Then book a more sensible connection time.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
Add in the aforementioned bulkheads, people traveling together, seating preference, and you can see why the gate agents might prefer to do some assignments last minute.

Again, just speculation.

Thanks Starlionblue!

Quoting YYZatcboy (Reply 2):
They are clearing standby passengers who get through security with a boarding pass but no seat assignment.

So these are the folks who have cleared the standby list before going through security (and therefore not appearing on the gate monitor). Is that what happened here, per chance?

Quoting AlnessW (Thread starter):
After the agent checked our bags and gave us our boarding passes, she said, "It's too early to give you seat assignments for your flight to DFW, you'll need to see the gate agent for your seats."
Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 3):
They almost always overbook flights because not all ticket holders show up. So people who booked after all seats were assigned and people from missed flights don't have available seats till the last minute.

Are these the pax that made reservations at the airport, or...?


User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10332 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 13314 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 5):
Then book a more sensible connection time.

Obviously, but if you have 2 hours connection time, and your first flight is delayed 1.5 hours, all the booking in the world won't solve that.

Speaking personally, every now and then, the cheapest flights will have a very close connection (like 40 minutes or so; I typically like at least an hour). If I'm flying from Boston to LA, and my connection is in Vegas, I'll probably book the flight anyway (depending on the airline), because there are tons of LA-Vegas flights. If I miss my connection, I probably won't have to wait that long.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 4):

Secondly, airlines overbook. About 6 passengers is normal on a domestic flight. You might be confirmed on the flight, but not get a seat assignment since the seats have not been released from misconnects and no shows.

Seems so strange to me. I think I'd be pretty hesitant to book tickets on a flight if I couldn't get a seat assignment.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17172 posts, RR: 66
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 13312 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 5):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
I once arrived at LHR T3 30 minutes before take-off for a transatlantic flight (and wasn't that a fun run to the gate).

Then book a more sensible connection time.

For the record, I arrived in a car.  It was just unexpected traffic. But hey, those are the breaks. If I'd missed the plane, I wouldn't have whined about it.

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 5):
Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 3):
They almost always overbook flights because not all ticket holders show up. So people who booked after all seats were assigned and people from missed flights don't have available seats till the last minute.

Are these the pax that made reservations at the airport, or...?
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Seems so strange to me. I think I'd be pretty hesitant to book tickets on a flight if I couldn't get a seat assignment.

Well, even if you did get a seat assignment you could get bumped. For example at AA and others if you are highest tier and book 24+ hours in advance you are guaranteed a spot on the plane. They'll offload someone if they have to. Same with MTOW limitations. The airline tries to avoid offloading pax, but they will. If they didn't overbook the cost of the flights would go up as there would be empty seats all over the place. To be fair airlines tend to have overbooking down to a science so you will rarely get offloaded.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineFlyASAguy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 13314 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Seems so strange to me. I think I'd be pretty hesitant to book tickets on a flight if I couldn't get a seat assignment.

Okay i'll try to explain this as simple as possible. I'll use an MD88 as a example.

DL's 88s seat 133 in Y. Of those 133 seats, only about 118 can be pre-assigned. The rest are blocked (forward bulkhead and the last couple rows) until day of departure. So those 15 or so passenger's boarding pass will say "Awaiting Seat Assignment - Confirmed". They WILL get a seat because they booked @ a time when there was still available inventory but they couldn't pre-select a seat because the remaining seats were blocked.

Oversales are a totally different story and is actually much more complicated than I could even explain here but hope what I said explains a part of the whole seat assigned at the gate thing.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently onlinevikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10332 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 13281 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
Well, even if you did get a seat assignment you could get bumped. For example at AA and others if you are highest tier and book 24+ hours in advance you are guaranteed a spot on the plane. They'll offload someone if they have to. Same with MTOW limitations. The airline tries to avoid offloading pax, but they will.

True, but those scenarios are different from arriving at the gate without a seat assignment.

Quoting FlyASAguy2005 (Reply 8):
DL's 88s seat 133 in Y. Of those 133 seats, only about 118 can be pre-assigned. The rest are blocked (forward bulkhead and the last couple rows) until day of departure. So those 15 or so passenger's boarding pass will say "Awaiting Seat Assignment - Confirmed". They WILL get a seat because they booked @ a time when there was still available inventory but they couldn't pre-select a seat because the remaining seats were blocked.

Thanks, that makes sense. I guess for me personally, since I'm very picky about seats, it would be very unappealing to not have a seat assignment prior to arriving at the airport.



How can I be an admiral without my cap??!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17172 posts, RR: 66
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 13271 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
Well, even if you did get a seat assignment you could get bumped. For example at AA and others if you are highest tier and book 24+ hours in advance you are guaranteed a spot on the plane. They'll offload someone if they have to. Same with MTOW limitations. The airline tries to avoid offloading pax, but they will.

True, but those scenarios are different from arriving at the gate without a seat assignment.

Point!

My theory is that the unassigned seats (as per FlyASAguy2005 for example) are there for flexibility.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6118 posts, RR: 14
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 13137 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 5):
So these are the folks who have cleared the standby list before going through security (and therefore not appearing on the gate monitor). Is that what happened here, per chance?

In the US at least, there will be a security pass given to the nonrev so that he/she can get to the gate and wait for the flight. Some places have holing areas for the non-revs. Most places/countries, though, keep you outside of security until you have been cleared.

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 5):
Are these the pax that made reservations at the airport, or...?

They could be revenue standby (elites) who booked a last minute trip.



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User currently offlineTristarsteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 4068 posts, RR: 33
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 13130 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):

Thanks, that makes sense. I guess for me personally, since I'm very picky about seats, it would be very unappealing to not have a seat assignment prior to arriving at the airport.

Well don't get a job with an airline.
Very occasionally I will get a seat before check in, but even then its easy
to lose it at the gate to a revenue pax and get another one.
And my 'firm' bookings are never firm. Easy to arrive at the airport
and find you are on standby.
Once I was travelling ARN-CPH-JFK through flight on TWA.
But when we got to CPH we were offloaded for 24hrs as they needed
aöö the seats to sell to SAS.


User currently offlinenomadd22 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 1899 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 13101 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 5):

Are these the pax that made reservations at the airport, or...?

That's not really the reason. If a flight was sold out a month in advance, the airline would be even more likley to overbook, since they'd expect more cancellations in that month than in the last hour. It's a guessing game, and one they don't always win. I'm usually not in that much of a hurry when I'm coming home and have gotten a nice record of travel vouchers. $400 is a pretty good deal for reading a book for three hours.



Andy Goetsch
User currently offlineTristarsteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 4068 posts, RR: 33
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 13045 times:

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 13):
If a flight was sold out a month in advance, the airline would be even more likley to overbook, since they'd expect more cancellations in that month than in the last hour.

Now that the EU has mandatory compensation for bumping due overbooking, we have a lot less.
Once upon a time overbooking of 20 on a A321 was not unusual. Nowadays one or two at most. The airline does not lose a lot either, because most bookings now are not transferable., you pay for the seat whether you sit in it or not.

But why overbook when the normal fare is 60 EUR and the bumping fee is 250 EUR. It just doesn't pay.


User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 12896 times:

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Obviously, but if you have 2 hours connection time, and your first flight is delayed 1.5 hours, all the booking in the world won't solve that.

Hard to disagree with you there. Once upon a time, I booked PDX-LAX on AS connecting to LAX-PVR on DL. What I didn't realize at the time of booking was the terminal change. We had a 2 hour layover, which probably would have been fine to change from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 had our AS flight into LAX not been delayed 90 minutes.   We did however make our flight, but that sprint still haunts me to this day.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Speaking personally, every now and then, the cheapest flights will have a very close connection (like 40 minutes or so; I typically like at least an hour).

That's where we differ.   I always prefer at least 2 hours, but 3 is best.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
If I'm flying from Boston to LA, and my connection is in Vegas, I'll probably book the flight anyway (depending on the airline), because there are tons of LA-Vegas flights.

You are a bit lucky there. But due to my nitpicky travel habits, I want to travel on the flight that I made my original reservation on, nothing else.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
If I miss my connection, I probably won't have to wait that long.

... Unless the other flights are full.

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Seems so strange to me. I think I'd be pretty hesitant to book tickets on a flight if I couldn't get a seat assignment.

   Yes, but for me you can guarantee that I won't be booking a flight that I can't reserve a seat on.


Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
For the record, I arrived in a car. It was just unexpected traffic.

Oops! I guess I jumped to the conclusion that this was a connection. What time were you aiming to get to the airport?

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
Well, even if you did get a seat assignment you could get bumped.

How reassuring...  
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
For example at AA and others if you are highest tier and book 24+ hours in advance you are guaranteed a spot on the plane. They'll offload someone if they have to.

What a messed up system.  
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
The airline tries to avoid offloading pax, but they will. If they didn't overbook the cost of the flights would go up as there would be empty seats all over the place.

Interesting, thanks.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
To be fair airlines tend to have overbooking down to a science so you will rarely get offloaded.

Good to know!  
Quoting FlyASAguy2005 (Reply 8):
Okay i'll try to explain this as simple as possible. I'll use an MD88 as a example.

Thanks for your help! Exactly what I was looking for.

Quoting FlyASAguy2005 (Reply 8):
They WILL get a seat because they booked @ a time when there was still available inventory but they couldn't pre-select a seat because the remaining seats were blocked.

Why would seats be blocked to begin with?

Quoting FlyASAguy2005 (Reply 8):
Oversales are a totally different story and is actually much more complicated than I could even explain here but hope what I said explains a part of the whole seat assigned at the gate thing.

Again, thanks for sharing!  
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 9):
Thanks, that makes sense. I guess for me personally, since I'm very picky about seats, it would be very unappealing to not have a seat assignment prior to arriving at the airport.

Same here. In fact, if I logged into my flight itinerary and it said "Seats will be assigned at airport" (which luckily hasn't happened yet) than I WILL be calling the airline.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 10):
My theory is that the unassigned seats (as per FlyASAguy2005 for example) are there for flexibility.

Hmm...

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 11):
Most places/countries, though, keep you outside of security until you have been cleared.

This does sound much more practical to me.

Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 12):
Well don't get a job with an airline.
Very occasionally I will get a seat before check in, but even then its easy
to lose it at the gate to a revenue pax and get another one.
And my 'firm' bookings are never firm. Easy to arrive at the airport
and find you are on standby.

I would know right off the bat that I would not be living the life I wanted to if the only way I could afford to fly was on stand-by.

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 13):
That's not really the reason. If a flight was sold out a month in advance, the airline would be even more likley to overbook, since they'd expect more cancellations in that month than in the last hour. It's a guessing game, and one they don't always win.

Wow!

Quoting nomadd22 (Reply 13):
$400 is a pretty good deal for reading a book for three hours.

... Unless you are the passenger like myself that has checked bags that will go to my final destination, with or without me. Like I mentioned earlier, being the nitpicky traveler that I am, I want to travel on the flight that I made my original reservation on and nothing else.

Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 14):
Now that the EU has mandatory compensation for bumping due overbooking, we have a lot less.

I was referring to flights in the US. Sorry I didn't specify in my OP.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 12815 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 15):
Why would seats be blocked to begin with?

Exit rows are usually blocked for elites but if you check a flight a few days before departure (speaking about DL here) it's usually available but for a price of course. Bulkhead seats are always blocked until day of departure to accommodate passengers with disabilities. As for the rest, it's simply for flexibility. You never really want to be able to pre-assign every single seat. This way, you can move people around. Seat families together, etc. etc.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6118 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 12732 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 15):

This does sound much more practical to me.

It is only if the the airport is small, and the gate's nearby. At least with the London holding rooms, you are past security, and have to wait to be cleared, and when that happens, it may very well mean you have to trek a long distance to your departure gate with very little time left before they shut the door. Many airports, such as in Sydney, aren't quite that gracious.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 12609 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 15):
I would know right off the bat that I would not be living the life I wanted to if the only way I could afford to fly was on stand-by.

I don't really care about domestic travel. LF has been on the rise over the past 3 years and it's becoming harder and harder to travel within the US as a non-rev on days outside of Tues/Wed//Sat. However, working for an airline, I have been able to travel the world with a 95%+ rate in business class. Tickets that would have otherwise cost me $5,000 or more R/T. Not a bad deal at all..

Just last week I decided to take a couple days off and visit some old Navy buddies in Japan..

[Edited 2012-05-08 14:27:44]


What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 12543 times:

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 16):
Exit rows are usually blocked for elites but if you check a flight a few days before departure (speaking about DL here) it's usually available but for a price of course.

Not always, though. One time when selecting my seats for PDX-DFW-BOS on AA the system let me reserve exit row seats at booking for both flights at no charge. They even gave me Priority AAccess!

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 16):
Bulkhead seats are always blocked until day of departure to accommodate passengers with disabilities.

When you say "day of departure," do you mean at the airport? Because one time I was flying PDX-SFO on a UA Exp / OO CRJ-200, and on the day of my flight, if not the day before, the bulkhead seats were shown as available on the seatmap, and I reserved one no problem.

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 16):
As for the rest, it's simply for flexibility. You never really want to be able to pre-assign every single seat. This way, you can move people around. Seat families together, etc. etc.

Interesting, thanks.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17172 posts, RR: 66
Reply 20, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 12511 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 15):
Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 6):
Speaking personally, every now and then, the cheapest flights will have a very close connection (like 40 minutes or so; I typically like at least an hour).

That's where we differ.   I always prefer at least 2 hours, but 3 is best.

Depends on the airport. At HKG I am perfectly happy arriving at the in town train station 90 minutes before, checking in and dropping my luggage there, and knowing beyond a doubt I will make the plane. Flying out of JFK and driving from Connecticut no way I would cut it that fine. Same with FRA vs LHR. At FRA I would have no qualms about a 45 minute connection. At LHR I would wonder if my luggage and/or my person would make it.

Some airports are just more efficient than others.

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 15):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
For the record, I arrived in a car. It was just unexpected traffic.

Oops! I guess I jumped to the conclusion that this was a connection. What time were you aiming to get to the airport?

About 2-3 hours before take-off. Serious traffic.

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 15):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 7):
For example at AA and others if you are highest tier and book 24+ hours in advance you are guaranteed a spot on the plane. They'll offload someone if they have to.

What a messed up system.

I disagree. Highest tier holders are very important to airlines as they fly a lot. Keeping them happy is important. If someone with no status is unhappy, they lose one sale. If an Executive Platinum is unhappy, they potentially lose dozens of sales. If it happens often they may lose entire company contracts.

It's cruel but it is business. Keep your big customers happy first.

Same with Hyatt hotels. Diamond holders are guaranteed a room if they book 24 hours in advance, even if the hotel is fully booked.

In practice of course, an offload will rarely happen for this reason anyway.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 12464 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
At HKG I am perfectly happy arriving at the in town train station 90 minutes before, checking in and dropping my luggage there, and knowing beyond a doubt I will make the plane.

Ah, but for me, it is much more than just "making the flight." I want to get to the airport early enough to check my bags, clear security without rushing, walk around the terminal, take some some pictures, maybe have a bite to eat, and walk a bit more before heading to my gate around 30 minutes before boarding begins.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
At LHR I would wonder if my luggage and/or my person would make it.

Agreed. You really do need 3 hours to connect at LHR. In fact, BA considers a layover of 3 hours or more to be a "Long" layover, while under 3 hours is considered a "Short" layover.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
Some airports are just more efficient than others.

Yes, but size matters, too.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
About 2-3 hours before take-off. Serious traffic.

 Wow! Wow! That is serious.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
I disagree. Highest tier holders are very important to airlines as they fly a lot. Keeping them happy is important. If someone with no status is unhappy, they lose one sale. If an Executive Platinum is unhappy, they potentially lose dozens of sales. If it happens often they may lose entire company contracts.

It's cruel but it is business. Keep your big customers happy first.

Same with Hyatt hotels. Diamond holders are guaranteed a room if they book 24 hours in advance, even if the hotel is fully booked.

In practice of course, an offload will rarely happen for this reason anyway.

  


User currently offlineADent From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 1406 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 1 day ago) and read 12444 times:

Depends on the airline.

I haven't flown lately but in the past UA would hold a lot of seats back until 24 hours before departure. This makes getting seat assignments early for the non-Premiers (aka riff-raff) hard, but allows flexibility to assign seats for couples and families that book later.

AA seemed to assign every seat - so if you book late there are no (or only crappy) seats to select.

F9 seemed to do both. We reserved a selection of consecutive middle seats - but when we checked in we got 4 seats next to each other - the system had automatically changed them.



Now back to UA (at least PM, haven't flown the new SHARES based UA). They will not release Economy+ seats to the riff-raff until 1 hour before departure (they are trying to sell them to people checking in). So if the back of the bus is full when you check in early you get a Departure Management Card. Then 1 hour prior to departure they release the E+ seats and assign seats to all the riff-raff holding DMCs - calling them up by name to the podium.

What do other airlines with E+ do?


As mentioned above there are oversell situations, stand-bys, upgrades, and people who did not check in at a place that issues that airlines boarding passes (say international legs).


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17172 posts, RR: 66
Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 12395 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 21):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 20):
At HKG I am perfectly happy arriving at the in town train station 90 minutes before, checking in and dropping my luggage there, and knowing beyond a doubt I will make the plane.

Ah, but for me, it is much more than just "making the flight." I want to get to the airport early enough to check my bags, clear security without rushing, walk around the terminal, take some some pictures, maybe have a bite to eat, and walk a bit more before heading to my gate around 30 minutes before boarding begins.

Except that at HKG I would check my bags in town so I don't have to lug them to the airport. And I'd use a mobile boarding pass. And the automated document check instead of the lines. 

So yes, I could take some time at the airport, but the procedures themselves are pretty darned efficient.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 12224 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 23):
And I'd use a mobile boarding pass. And the automated document check instead of the lines.

   I don't have a smartphone so I have even more incentive not to use mobile boarding passes.


25 B747forever : Have you ever connected BA-BA at LHR? 3 hours is way too much time for such a connection. One hour is more than enough. I would argue that FRA is muc
26 Viscount724 : The problem with booking a 1-hour connection at LHR (regardless of carrier) is that, in my experience, a high percentage of flights wind up in holdin
27 B747forever : There is something called padding into schedules. You really think it takes 1hr and 25minutes to fly CDG-LHR without any holding time/long taxi times
28 Viscount724 : There still seems to be a lot of guesswork involved. In my experience, flights to LHR arrive early much less often than at other major hubs. I've als
29 Post contains images AlnessW : Yes. Well, I'm going to disagree with you there. Once I flew BOS-LHR connecting to LHR-ATH (all on BA). Let me tell you a short story here. Our redey
30 Post contains images cmf : I used to fly MIA-GVA and MIA-DUS frequently, many years ago. The connection in FRA was short and after a couple of times I had learned that though I
31 KaiGywer : To which they will reply that you will get a seat at the airport. Not at all. I have been standby on several flights where the door is literally clos
32 LOWS : I actually like the walking at FRA after a long flight, since it gets the blood flowing. I would like to know where exactly one IS when coming in fro
33 Post contains images AlnessW : Thanks for that, is there anything else you'd like to add? To each their own! I like long walks at any airport for that same reason. In fact, I'd rat
34 m11stephen : Personally, I think overbooking is one of the most ridiculous business practices airlines engage in. It does nothing but lead to chaos, frustration, a
35 Starlionblue : I don't agree. If airlines didn't overbook prices would go up quite steeply. An astounding number of people don't show up for their flight. Why shoul
36 Post contains images AlnessW : m11stephen, I could not agree with you more. The practice of overbooking flights seems almost as screwed up as this kind of thing:
37 Post contains images AlnessW : But they can and do happen. But from the passenger's point of view, it's unethical. Depends on where you're going. See my previous response: Whatever
38 m11stephen : I must have had horrible luck as a gate agent then... I frequently had to bump people cause flights were overbooked. I even had situations where high
39 Starlionblue : Only in the US. The airlines out here in Asia are comparatively fine and they overbook just as much. This leads me to conclude the overbooking bits a
40 AlnessW : Indeed, a bad practice. Thanks for sharing. Good to know! You didn't answer my question. How can you consider the airline industry to be a "good busi
41 Starlionblue : Overbooking is good business practice, meaning it is good for profits, or no airline would be doing it. This is not the same as saying it is good ser
42 m11stephen : There are lots of things an airline, or any business for that matter, can engage in that are good for business but are highly immoral and borderline
43 Starlionblue : "Immoral" and "borderline illegal" are strong words. The passengers enters into a contract with the airline. The contract clearly spells out overbook
44 Post contains images AlnessW : You just don't get it and that's OK. I've already explained my opinion on this issue, so my best advice to you is to re-read some of my earlier posts
45 Post contains links Starlionblue : Fair enough but the contract you entered into when you made the reservation states quite clearly that you can be bumped. These are terms that you agr
46 Viscount724 : Tens of thousands of passengers have been able to travel thanks to overbooking. If an airline knows from experience that a certain flight has a 10% n
47 AlnessW : Indeed, that is the case here. Ah, I see. I must've misinterpreted your point, sorry. So let me ask you Starlionblue, what do you do for a living? It
48 Starlionblue : I do not work for an airline and I never have. I'm not obsessed with defending overbooking. I simply feel that it is a reasonable practice that allow
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